Sunday, March 8, 2009

Joe DiMaggio: Remembering a Legend

Ten years ago today, one of the most gifted baseball players to ever walk the earth died at the age of 84.

Joe DiMaggio was able to play his entire 13-year career in Yankee pinstripes, a luxury many players are unable to experience as their skills decline.

Even after losing three years in the middle of his prime to serve during WWII, DiMaggio still accumulated 361 home runs, 1537 RBI, three MVP awards, and almost 1400 runs scored.

His .325 lifetime batting average and nearly .400 career on-base percentage help to paint a picture of how remarkable he truly was at his craft. There are many reasons why no player will ever again wear his #5.

The gigantic stadiums that DiMaggio played in helped to reduce his home run numbers, but resulted in 131 triples. Totaling only 30 steals in thirteen years proves that the ballparks, and not his speed, were responsible for this.

DiMaggio was an all-star in every season in which he played, and helped to lead the Yankees to a 9-1 World Series record during his career.

His 56-game hitting streak still stands as possibly the most impressive feat in sports history. It is believed that it represents one record that was never made to be broken.

The record’s mystique is only enhanced by the fact that steroids are virtually unable to aid in a player’s pursuit of it.

A man of many nicknames, including Joltin’ Joe and The Yankee Clipper, DiMaggio was as much a celebrity as he was a baseball star.

He was featured in movies and commercials, and married the most stunning actress alive at the time. His name was also the focus of immensely popular song lyrics.

While his relationship with Yankee hero Mickey Mantle was nothing short of sour, the two have turned “center fielder for the Yankees” into an iconic position. It represented the king’s throne of Major League Baseball for over 30 years.

Joe DiMaggio is a man who will never be forgotten as long as the game of baseball continues to be played.

The question of who is the greatest all-around hitter in history is consistently debated among fans. DiMaggio’s name is always sprinkled amongst Mays, Ruth, and Ted Williams, and deservedly so.

The Yankee Clipper was the perfect example of what a baseball player should be. He was talented, dedicated, courageous, patriotic, and classy.

DiMaggio would be 94 years of age today. His life may have ended, but his inspiration and impact on the Yankees and MLB will continue to live on for centuries to come.

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